Day Trips Near NYC

Day Trips Near NYC

Around this time of year, I get the itch to get out of the city and go somewhere new. While some nearby vacation spots are only accessible by car, there are also plenty of places to check out within walking distance of a train or bus station—which is convenient for me, since I don’t own a car. Here are a few spots to the north, east, south and west that I’ve visited or want to visit:

To the North

Phoenicia Diner in Phoenicia, NY

My aunt lives an hour upstate from New York City and a few of my cousins live in the area too, so sometimes I have the option to ride along or borrow their cars. Last summer, I took a weekend trip and visited a few spots in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains areas. While travelers usually head to Woodstock, nearby Phoenicia also has a few things to offer. Enjoy a hearty breakfast at the Phoenicia Diner before heading east to Kaaterskill Falls or going tubing on the Esopus Creek with Tinker Town Tube Rental.

Further south and closer to the Hudson River, you’ll find a few quaint towns right off the Metro-North train line, like Cold Spring, where outdoorsy New Yorkers head for hiking. Last fall I explored another town with a Metro-North stop: Beacon, where you’ll find spacious modern art museum Dia: Beacon and a main street full of shops and eateries. For lunch, my boyfriend and I splurged on a meal at Swift, which offers a gorgeous view of Beacon Falls.

To the East

The beach in Fair Harbor on Fire Island, NY

Last summer, I wanted to find a quiet beach and decided to check out Fair Harbor on Fire Island. The Fair Harbor ferry is a short walk from the Long Island Rail Road and once on the narrow island, it’s not far to the beach. Also off the LIRR are plenty of special deals and packages for trips to Montauk, the outlets at Tanger Deer Park, wineries on the North Fork and more.

Also east (well, northeast) of NYC is Connecticut. While I’ve always thought of New York’s neighboring state as primarily suburban, it does have some small towns on the southern edge that sound intriguing. I’m specifically hoping to plan a trip to Mystic soon to look around the Seaport and grab a slice from Mystic Pizza—made famous by the late 80’s Julia Roberts movie of same name.

To the South

Long Beach Island, NJ

Last summer I two weekend trips to two very different spots on the Jersey Shore. For my little sister’s 21st birthday, we spent a night at Atlantic City’s Tropicana resort, which offers a roundtrip bus trips from Port Authority and the George Washington Bridge Bus Terminal. While I’m not much of a gambler, there’s plenty more to do in AC, like strolling along the boardwalk or dancing to 70’s and 80’s hits at Boogie Nights.

Later in the summer, I spent a weekend with my boyfriend’s family at the much quieter Shore town of Long Beach Island. We went after Labor Day, so the island was mostly empty of summer renters, but popular LBI spots like The Chicken or the Egg and a few miniature golf courses were still open. For this trip, you’ll need a car—though New Jersey Transit does offer trips to other Shore destinations like Cape May and Seaside Heights.

To the West

Dorney Park in Allentown, PA

One of my cousins lives in Eastern Pennsylvania, not far from Allentown’s Dorney Park. This amusement park has been one of my extended family’s favorites since before I was born and offers a variety of rides for those who love roller coasters and those looking for something a little gentler. My favorite is the 205-foot-tall Steel Force—it takes me a few hours at the park to overcome my fear of heights, but once I ride it, I always want to get back in line.

This summer, I’m hoping to check out a few more attractions in Lehigh Valley: the area’s minor league baseball team the IronPigs and Shankweiler’s, the self-proclaimed oldest drive-in movie theater in America.

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